Around the world, Covid-19 is highlighting fragility and need in society, and not just with medical and economic systems. Social disruption, family chaos, and emotional fallout are evident too, and underneath all lies a gaping spiritual need. For 50 years, Christian Encounter Ranch has been devoted to addressing these very issues. You can help us do this by signing up for the Agony Ride today.
Despite the unknowns of the coming months, we will still be hosting the 38th annual Agony Ride at the end of July. We plan to ride in the Sierra Valley as usual. If gatherings that size are prohibited, we have contingency plans, such as subdividing into smaller groups. Even if tight restrictions are in place, you can still participate: our team of tech volunteers is creating a whole set of fantastic new tools that allow a virtual option. On July 24-25, you can ride wherever you are, anywhere in the world.
Due to quarantining, this year we're more aware of our hunger for caring and authentic community than normal. The camaraderie of the Agony and the demonstration of Christ's sacrificial love that takes place in that valley cannot be replaced. If our gathering is limited, there will be loss.
But the virtual option will result in new joys and opportunities. It allows people unable to travel to participate--maybe for the first time. It creates new opportunities to recruit friends in other locations. It gives people with tight work schedules the ability to ride too. The Agony will still happen, life-saving money will still be raised, and you can be part of it.
The purpose for the ride stays exactly the same: overcoming the cycles of brokenness, one story at a time. If anything, the lapse in societal structure makes the Ranch program for struggling youth more strategic and necessary than ever, and the economic downturn puts our scholarship fund squarely in the spotlight. We are so grateful for our Agony riders, who allow us to give scholarships to 100% of the young people who come to us for healing and a fresh start.
Sign up today to be part of a worthy cause: saving lives and giving hope. In the meantime, build your immune system and strengthen your lungs by going on a bicycle ride today!
For more details, check out the FAQs on AgonyRide.org. We will keep you posted as restrictions change and plans in line with state and local guidance develop.
Your partner in this good work,
We feel privileged to be able to honor the memory of Christian Encounter family members and their love for this ministry. We are thankful for donations received in their memory.
Mark your calendars now for all of Christian Encounter's 2020 events!
In the fall, we had two residential volunteers join the Maintenance department, both of whom are former interns. Holly McClain came on as a part-time work program assistant upon completion of her internship, while Joseph Snyder’s (‘18) duties primarily consist of landscaping.
In the Food Service department, we welcomed Kim Gilliland, long-time Grass Valley resident and local AWANA Club Director, as assistant to Food Service Manager Chris Unitt. Olivia Crissman finishes up her one-year internship this month and will transition into the Food Service department as a residential volunteer early next year.
Did you know that for over 30 years, Christian Encounter has had an active Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) membership?
This means all financial operations are done in strict accordance with the guidelines of the ECFA.
Want to learn more about ECFA's standards? Watch the video below:
Do you have handyman experience and a heart for young people? We’re looking for someone who will come in occasionally to help us keep the woodshop, autoshop, and accompanying tools organized and fully functional. For more information, contact Austin at 530-268-0877 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The dates have been set and details are starting to come together. Mark your calendars for Sept. 18-20, 2020. Stay the whole weekend or drop in when you are able. Come to the big BBQ Saturday evening to see familiar faces. Please help us spread the word by inviting others to the Facebook event!
Remember the miracles?
We all have stories of miraculous provision, of miraculous transformation that we witnessed during our time at Christian Encounter. We’d like to compile these stories to be shared at our 50th anniversary celebration. Please take some time to detail those memories and email them to Marion at email@example.com.
It is with great sadness but also joy that I write to you about the passing of long-time Ranch leader Jim Parker. After battling dementia over the past few years, he finished his race around noon on September 19th, with people he dearly loved surrounding him as his spirit left this earth and entered heaven. There are many things we don’t know about heaven, but I imagine many, many people running up to greet him, gratefully telling him he’s the reason they’re there, he’s the one that pointed them to the great love of the Savior, Jesus.
I believe “JP” was one of the richest of men. He had an abundance of the greatest wealth there is: love. He loved freely and generously. He never ran out of love; his connection with the Lord allowed him to be a fire hose, and everyone who came near him experienced this great love. Not surprisingly, Jim was very loved in return; as he would say, that’s the way God’s plan works.
Jim’s love filled all parts of his life. He was faithfully devoted to his wife, Marion. A few years ago—well into their sixth decade of marriage--Jim told me his love for her was still growing. He was a kind and gentle father to his girls, and he was ready to make difficult career and personal choices in order to care for them. While tender toward them, he was also ferociously protective. In their house ministry in Livermore in the 1970’s, when he faced knives, guns, unhinged people, and criminals as he ministered to everyone he came across, Jim defended his family with power and courage.
His loving father’s heart also influenced how he led at Christian Encounter. Once Jim told me about a girl he had to dismiss from the Ranch many years ago. As he was walking her down the driveway to a waiting car, she turned and told him she’d never had a father; if she did, she would want it to be Jim. As he told me this story, he cried. It was the only time I ever saw him cry.
These are evidences of a very special man, but Jim would quickly point us back to Jesus as the source of this special love. His love for God and others had the natural outworking of making him humble. He chose the lesser paths; he wasn’t oriented to fame or fortune, but instead to nurturing and shepherding souls as a loving mentor and pastor.
As JP taught everyone around him, life with Jesus is good. As he lived this out, he shaped so many of the lives he encountered. He also taught those people to shape others, and like ripples on a pond, Jim’s life work will keep spreading. May we all live with Jim’s singular focus on the things that really matter, and may we never forget there’s no end to the goodness that comes with following Jesus. And the best really is yet to come. For JP, he’s already there.
Nate Boyd, Executive Director
A Celebration of Life service will be held Saturday, Oct. 5 at 2pm, at Compass Community Church in Grass Valley, CA. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to Christian Encounter to continue the lifesaving work that was so close to Jim's heart.
Our students and interns leave next Friday, August 23rd, for the annual 15-day Summer backpacking trip.
After our students and interns return - in order to help process the trip and gain even more from the experience - they write reflection papers.
Join us on Thursday, September 12, 2019 at 7:00 pm as students and interns read their reflection papers aloud.
(And enjoy our slideshow of pictures from the trip!)